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Old Nov 1st 2015, 12:47 pm   #1
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Default Renting in France - possible Sticky?

A comment on another BE forum prompted me to post this, as posters are very often advised to rent for a while before buying property. But many potential expats may not be aware of the requirements demanded by most landlords.
As tenants are protected by French Law, landlords are very careful to whom they rent their property and they and/or their Estate Agents demand a Dossier from each "candidate" before deciding.
Most (at least French) landlords require that the regular joint monthly income of potential tenants is 3-4 times the rent. Proof of this is provided by salary slips, work contracts, pension statements, etc..., but not bank statements which simply indicate a bank balance.
Students and unemployed pre-retirees would have to find Guarantors in order to be considered, the latter having to prove that their monthly income is 3-4 times the rent. From experience, their Avis d'Imposition and even Taxe Foncière papers must also be presented, which might be an issue for Guarantors in the UK. A Guarantor undertakes to pay the full rent if necessary, which is why it's often parents who accept such responsibility....
Otherwise a thread in the past mentioned the possibility of a Bank Guarantee, and some one in the know will come along with details.
The majority of rentals are unfurnished, meaning nothing but the basic toilet and washing facilities, and kitchen sink... Leases are normally for 3 years but tenants can easily terminate them beforehand by following the legal procedure.
On the other hand, gîtes are furnished and can be rented short-term.

Corrections and additions welcome!
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 11:20 am   #2
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmu View Post
A comment on another BE forum prompted me to post this, as posters are very often advised to rent for a while before buying property. But many potential expats may not be aware of the requirements demanded by most landlords.
As tenants are protected by French Law, landlords are very careful to whom they rent their property and they and/or their Estate Agents demand a Dossier from each "candidate" before deciding.
Most (at least French) landlords require that the regular joint monthly income of potential tenants is 3-4 times the rent. Proof of this is provided by salary slips, work contracts, pension statements, etc..., but not bank statements which simply indicate a bank balance.
Students and unemployed pre-retirees would have to find Guarantors in order to be considered, the latter having to prove that their monthly income is 3-4 times the rent. From experience, their Avis d'Imposition and even Taxe Foncière papers must also be presented, which might be an issue for Guarantors in the UK. A Guarantor undertakes to pay the full rent if necessary, which is why it's often parents who accept such responsibility....
Otherwise a thread in the past mentioned the possibility of a Bank Guarantee, and some one in the know will come along with details.
The majority of rentals are unfurnished, meaning nothing but the basic toilet and washing facilities, and kitchen sink... Leases are normally for 3 years but tenants can easily terminate them beforehand by following the legal procedure.
On the other hand, gîtes are furnished and can be rented short-term.

Corrections and additions welcome!
Yes, when I moved to France I expected everything to be orders of magnitude more complicated but the process to rent an apartment was particularly anxiety-inducing.

What you said is generally true although a few points to add:
- Guarantors are almost universally requested, not just for students or unemployed. I work full time and provided all my fiches de paie but it wasn't enough for most.
- Guarantor must be French. Being newly-arrived, I couldn't accommodate this demand (I do have friends here, but nobody I felt comfortable asking).
- Furnished apartments are very common in Paris. Not sure about the rest of France.
- Leases are variable in duration, depends on the landlord. Even if you sign a 2-year lease you can get out of it if need bed, given appropriate notice.
- The process is so complicated because the law tilts very much in favour of tenants in France. For instance, between November 1 and March 31, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant, regardless of whether the tenant has paid the rent.
- For some places I offered to pay an entire year's worth of rent all at once, but this usually wasn't enough to get them to waive the guarantor requirement.

I ended up using an agency to find a place. It wasn't cheap - agency fee is usually the equivalent of an extra month of rent - but it was worth it. I was able to bypass nearly all of these steps and found a great place in the 2nd arrondissement with a terrific landlord.

Last edited by Tronna; Nov 8th 2015 at 11:21 am. Reason: typo
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 11:54 am   #3
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronna View Post
Yes, when I moved to France I expected everything to be orders of magnitude more complicated but the process to rent an apartment was particularly anxiety-inducing.

What you said is generally true although a few points to add:
- Guarantors are almost universally requested IN PARIS, not just for students or unemployed. I work full time and provided all my fiches de paie but it wasn't enough for most.
- Guarantor must be French. Being newly-arrived, I couldn't accommodate this demand (I do have friends here, but nobody I felt comfortable asking).
- Furnished apartments are very common in Paris. Not sure about the rest of France. No it's not common in the rest of France, most of the flats are not furnished.
- Leases are variable in duration, depends on the landlord. Even if you sign a 2-year lease you can get out of it if need bed, given appropriate notice.
- The process is so complicated because the law tilts very much in favour of tenants in France. For instance, between November 1 and March 31, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant, regardless of whether the tenant has paid the rent.
- For some places IN PARIS I offered to pay an entire year's worth of rent all at once, but this usually wasn't enough to get them to
waive the guarantor requirement.

I ended up using an agency to find a place. It wasn't cheap - agency fee is usually the equivalent of an extra month of rent - but it was worth it. I was able to bypass nearly all of these steps and found a great place in the 2nd arrondissement with a terrific landlord.
Just rectified a few statements which are only true in Paris.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 1:05 pm   #4
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

I (non-french) was guarantor for my daughter's apartment in France - not Paris.
Prospective renters should be aware of the black market in rentals.
The son of a friend rented an illegally small apartment (read cupboard) just off Bvd St. Germain without a guarantor and was not allowed to receive mail other than through the landlord.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 1:11 pm   #5
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
I (non-french) was guarantor for my daughter's apartment in France - not Paris.
Prospective renters should be aware of the black market in rentals.
The son of a friend rented an illegally small apartment (read cupboard) just off Bvd St. Germain without a guarantor and was not allowed to receive mail other than through the landlord.
I've seen apartments advertised on pap.fr as small as 14 square metres in size. Presumably these advertised apartments were legal. Would hate to see how small an ILLEGALLY small apartment would be. At that point, why not just find a roommate? I lived with roommates during my first year in Paris. They're not hard to find. Appartager.fr has lots of postings and Airbnb.com is a good place to find something inexpensive while you search.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 1:35 pm   #6
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronna View Post
I've seen apartments advertised on pap.fr as small as 14 square metres in size. Presumably these advertised apartments were legal. Would hate to see how small an ILLEGALLY small apartment would be. At that point, why not just find a roommate? I lived with roommates during my first year in Paris. They're not hard to find. Appartager.fr has lots of postings and Airbnb.com is a good place to find something inexpensive while you search.
The minimum legal size is 9 square metres.

Some smaller 'apartments' still find tenants because they are very cheap.

Last edited by babyposer; Nov 8th 2015 at 1:40 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 1:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
I (non-french) was guarantor for my daughter's apartment in France - not Paris.
Prospective renters should be aware of the black market in rentals.
The son of a friend rented an illegally small apartment (read cupboard) just off Bvd St. Germain without a guarantor and was not allowed to receive mail other than through the landlord.
I'm quite surprised, was it a big city?

What were your daughter incomes?

Yes it's possible to rent a shoebox.. main problem is that people can't ask for LHA (APL in France).
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 2:18 pm   #8
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by babyposer View Post
I'm quite surprised, was it a big city?

What were your daughter incomes?

Yes it's possible to rent a shoebox.. main problem is that people can't ask for LHA (APL in France).
1. Clermont Ferrand.
2. Zero - she was a student.
3. It was less than 9 square metres and the bed was raised on a mezzanine platform and he was not allowed a letterbox or a nameplate on the door. It was definitely on-the-black and the rent was €600 per month. His father who is an experienced ( but not fluent) french speaker was happy that if there were any problems then he would just denounce the landlord.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 2:43 pm   #9
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
1. Clermont Ferrand.
2. Zero - she was a student.
3. It was less than 9 square metres and the bed was raised on a mezzanine platform and he was not allowed a letterbox or a nameplate on the door. It was definitely on-the-black and the rent was €600 per month. His father who is an experienced ( but not fluent) french speaker was happy that if there were any problems then he would just denounce the landlord.
600 euros for that??

Even in Paris it's easily possible to find a better place for 600 euros.

People really need to do their research.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 2:59 pm   #10
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
1. Clermont Ferrand.
2. Zero - she was a student.
3. It was less than 9 square metres and the bed was raised on a mezzanine platform and he was not allowed a letterbox or a nameplate on the door. It was definitely on-the-black and the rent was €600 per month. His father who is an experienced ( but not fluent) french speaker was happy that if there were any problems then he would just denounce the landlord.
Ok then it was normal they asked for a guarantor, she was a student!

Tronna statement is "Guarantors are almost universally requested, not just for students or unemployed. I work full time and provided all my fiches de paie but it wasn't enough for most."

'not just for students or unemployed': this is something which is only true in Paris. When people have a job, they never ask you for a guarantor! Of course you have to live according to your means and the rent has to be approx. 1/3 of your wage.

You have to be careful when you post these statements.. people who post here usually ask questions about the rest of France, not Paris, so posting statements which only apply to a single city is wrong imo.. unless you specify it's only true for a specific place.

Last edited by babyposer; Nov 8th 2015 at 3:05 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 3:14 pm   #11
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronna View Post
- Guarantors are almost universally requested, not just for students or unemployed. I work full time and provided all my fiches de paie but it wasn't enough for most.
- Furnished apartments are very common in Paris. Not sure about the rest of France.
- . Even if you sign a 2-year lease you can get out of it if need bed, given appropriate notice.
- The process is so complicated because the law tilts very much in favour of tenants in France. For instance, between November 1 and March 31, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant, regardless of whether the tenant has paid the rent.
- Maybe your salary wasn't 3-4 times the rent
- Maybe in Paris (I rented one myself in another life, in a chambre de bonne with toilet along the corridor, what joy!), but rare outside the capital
- I did say this in the original post
- I already said this, but the trêve hivernale should only be of interest to a future landlord, not potential expat tenants, for whom this thread was originally posted.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 3:23 pm   #12
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmu View Post
- Maybe your salary wasn't 3-4 times the rent
- Maybe in Paris (I rented one myself in another life, in a chambre de bonne with toilet along the corridor, what joy!), but rare outside the capital
- I did say this in the original post
- I already said this, but the trêve hivernale should only be of interest to a future landlord, not potential expat tenants, for whom this thread was originally posted.
Yes but it goes some way to explaining why the process is so much more complicated in France.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 3:24 pm   #13
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

My response was to Tronna's comment "Guarantor must be French".
There are many possible scenarios regarding renting in France.
Whether you are renting from an ex-pat or french landlord.
Whether you are renting through an agency or not.
Whether you are renting in a city or university town or in the countryside.
Whether the rental is legal or on-the-black.
For a sticky, it is not possible to cover each variable but to give general guidance to interested members who can (once they understand the system in France) ask more specific questions.
The purpose of the sticky is not to give a specific answer but to give general answers to questions that are asked repeatedly.
If you read the helpful #1 post by dmu, it does not mention specifics.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 3:31 pm   #14
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
My response was to Tronna's comment "Guarantor must be French".
There are many possible scenarios regarding renting in France.
Whether you are renting from an ex-pat or french landlord.
Whether you are renting through an agency or not.
Whether you are renting in a city or university town or in the countryside.
Whether the rental is legal or on-the-black.
For a sticky, it is not possible to cover each variable but to give general guidance to interested members who can (once they understand the system in France) ask more specific questions.
The purpose of the sticky is not to give a specific answer but to give general answers to questions that are asked repeatedly.
If you read the helpful #1 post by dmu, it does not mention specifics.
Oh I see, apologies then I was a bit confused. You're right the guarantor doesn't necessarily have to be French.. I also had a Swiss guarantor myself when I was a student.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 7:28 pm   #15
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Default Re: Renting in France - possible Sticky?

France doesn't have the exclusivity on shoeboxes the UK has some pretty grim bedsits these days.
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